Who’s Your Neighbor?

October 12, 2012 in Theology · 4 comments

“A man was going down from Great Falls, Montana to Boise, Idaho and ran off the road in a snow storm. He crashed into the ditch and lay there, bloody and wounded and half dead.

“Now by chance a Baptist preacher was going down that road, but when he saw the accident he passed by on the other side. So too a Catholic priest, when he came up to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

“But an Iranian Muslim who was traveling the same route came to where the injured man was, and when he saw him, he felt compassion for him. He pulled over and went up to him and cleaned and bandaged his wounds.

“Then he put him in his own car, brought him to the hospital in Arco, and made sure he was taken care of. The next day he took out his credit card and gave it to the hospital staff, saying, ‘Take care of him, and put it on my card’. Which of these three do you think became a neighbor to the man who had the accident?” (Luke 10:29-37, Dan’s Very Loose Paraphrase Version)

Our neighbors are not just the people around us, those in our same social, economic or religious group. Our neighbor is the person who we may disagree with the most in terms of religion or politics, but who still reflects God’s love and mercy through their actions. Our neighbor includes the people we don’t want to spend time with, the people we don’t want to talk with, the people who we think are very wrong in their religious beliefs — the people we may seem to have nothing in common with.

For Christians, our neighbors include Muslims, Jews, Atheists, Mormons and Buddhists. God calls us to recognize that every person, even those whom we might think are profoundly wrong in foundational beliefs, has inherent worth and is fully capable of truly reflecting God’s love. And if they can exhibit that love by being a neighbor to those around them, we should also “go and do likewise,” treating our neighbors as we would like to be treated.

4 comments… read them below or add one

Leslie Marbach October 12, 2012 at 8:11 pm

I need to get that DVLPV Bible.

Good post, Dan. We all need to be reminded that our neighbors are everyone.

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Doug Sloan October 13, 2012 at 8:03 am

What do we do – How do we respond
when the person who shows us compassion
is our enemy?

Reply

Dan October 13, 2012 at 9:05 am

Pretty sure Jesus has that one covered:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mat 5:43-48)

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KellyK October 13, 2012 at 8:37 am

Doug, depending on the situation, maybe reevaluate whether they’re your enemy?

And I only say “depending on the situation” because the first thing that popped into my head was the Christmas truce during WWI. In most non-military situations, I’m not sure we should have “enemies.”

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